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Norm Application Paper

It was weird to sit there and be looking up at the

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It was weird to sit there and be looking up at the other people in the elevator from my position on the floor. The other people who were in the elevator with me gave me weird glances and a few of them asked me what I was doing with the voice inflection indicating that they were thinking I was abnormal or crazy. This made me feel even more awkward about sitting but I just told them I was sitting on the ground and they stopped asking questions but continued to give me weird glances. Norms are sort of the back bone of social behavior. Without them, people would be doing weird things all day long and this could be disruptive to the daily life of those in the society. For example, if people decided to sit down in the elevator on regular basis elevators would be less efficient because less people would fit in them. They would also have some people standing and some sitting which could cause occupants to feel uncomfortable. Norms keep society in line and allow our lives to run smoothly with all members involved. Sanctions are pretty effective at enforcing norms. Even just a look for breaking a folkway can cause a person to feel shame and never want to break that norm again. The most extreme sanctions are for laws and taboos. Sanctions for laws could be a fine or jail time and most people don’t want to put themselves in that position. As for taboos, the sanctions would be so severe that people don’t even mention breaking the norm. For my experiment, people reacted to me as though I was super weird and abnormal. The reason for this is that norms are in place to keep our lives running smoothly. When a person messes up the conditions of society, people don’t know what to do or how to feel. They’re so used to things being one way that change just seems unnatural. I felt awkward because people were looking at me oddly and it made me feel as though I was doing something seriously wrong. That was my sanction. I didn’t get a fine or anything serious, but no one wants to be considered weird or unnatural.
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